Chicago-style pizza, also known as deep-dish pizza, is a legendary creation that hails from the Windy City. With its hearty, doughy crust, robust tomato sauce, generous cheese, and a treasure trove of toppings, this iconic pizza style is a feast for the senses. In this blog post, we’ll explore the history of Chicago-style pizza and guide you through a recipe that lets you recreate this culinary masterpiece in your own kitchen.
Before we embark on our Chicago-style pizza-making journey, let’s assemble the key ingredients you’ll need:
For the Chicago-Style Pizza Dough:
- 2 1/4 teaspoons (1 packet) of active dry yeast
- 1 cup of warm water (110°F or 43°C)
- 2 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup of cornmeal
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 teaspoon of salt
For the Chicago-Style Pizza Filling:
- 2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 pound (about 450g) of Italian sausage, crumbled and cooked
- 1 cup of sliced green bell peppers
- 1 cup of sliced onions
- 1 can (28 ounces) of crushed tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon of dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon of dried basil
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Olive oil, for greasing the pan
1. Prepare the Chicago-Style Pizza Dough:
Begin by activating the yeast. In a small bowl, combine the warm water and yeast, allowing it to sit for about 5 minutes until it becomes frothy.
2. Mix the Dough:
In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, olive oil, salt, and the activated yeast mixture. Stir until the dough comes together.
3. Knead the Dough:
On a floured surface, knead the dough until it’s smooth and elastic, which should take about 5 minutes.
4. Let the Dough Rise:
Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover it with a damp cloth, and let it rise in a warm place for about 1 to 1.5 hours or until it doubles in size.
5. Preheat the Oven:
While the dough is rising, preheat your oven to 475°F (245°C).
6. Prepare the Pizza Filling:
In a saucepan, heat the crushed tomatoes, dried oregano, dried basil, salt, and pepper over low heat. Allow the sauce to simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
7. Assemble the Pizza:
Take a deep-dish pizza pan or a cast-iron skillet and brush it with olive oil. Press the risen dough into the bottom and up the sides of the pan.
8. Layer the Ingredients:
Start with a layer of mozzarella cheese, followed by the cooked Italian sausage, sliced green bell peppers, and sliced onions. Pour the simmered tomato sauce over the top, and finish with a generous sprinkle of grated Parmesan cheese.
9. Bake the Pizza:
Place the pizza in the preheated oven and bake for about 25-30 minutes or until the crust is golden and the cheese is bubbling and slightly browned.
10. Serve and Enjoy:
Once your Chicago-style pizza is hot, bubbly, and irresistible, remove it from the oven. Allow it to cool for a few minutes before slicing and serving.
The History of Chicago-Style Pizza
The creation of Chicago-style pizza is often attributed to Ike Sewell and Ric Riccardo, who opened Pizzeria Uno in Chicago in 1943. Their goal was to craft a pizza that was more of a meal than a snack, and thus, the deep-dish pizza was born. Characterized by its thick, buttery crust and layers of cheese and toppings, this unique style of pizza has become a Chicago institution and a comfort food favorite around the world.
Savor the Chicago-Style Pizza Experience
Crafting a Chicago-style pizza from scratch is a rewarding journey that allows you to experience the flavors and textures of this iconic dish in the comfort of your own kitchen. The combination of rich, cheesy layers and the satisfying depth of the crust creates a meal that’s as much a culinary masterpiece as it is a comforting indulgence. Whether shared with friends and family or savored as a special treat, a homemade Chicago-style pizza is sure to delight and leave your taste buds craving for more. So, embrace the spirit of Chicago and enjoy the journey of creating this legendary deep-dish pizza.